Saturation point

Saturation point


Over 5,000,000 photographs are uploaded Worldwide via Instagram, everyday.

And that figure can only rise. With the explosion in Smart Phone usage, and the Camera’s that are built into them, taking pictures, and more importantly, sharing them has become easier than ever. Instagram was recently bought out by Facebook for a staggering $1 Billion (around £629 Million), giving a strong indication to the importance of the image within Social Media, and the future direction of it.

Currently users of Instagram will be no stranger to countless images of food, babies and pets, which we ourselves are no doubt also guilty of. I have certainly uploaded a picture or two of a Scotch Egg, one of which we can see below.

Scotch Egg

I have questioned my thought process that led to this image being uploaded to Instagram. Clearly hungry, I decided to buy a Scotch Egg from Old Street Market. Upon return tot he Office, at some point, perhaps sub-consciously, I made the decision to pull out my iPhone, open the Instagram Application, take the picture, resize it, apply an effect, and hit submit. Before eating my food, which by this point was getting cold.

There a few reasons as to why I may have decided to upload this image to Instagram, and also simultaneously posting the link to my Twitter & Facebook accounts. First, I could have wanted to install some food envy into any savory food lover who may be following me on any of the aforementioned Social Media Applications. Secondly, and more worryingly, I could feel the need to document my activity to validate my life, and prove to the world I do more than play xBox in my underpants. Finally, and the most likely, I could simply be addicted to the user experience of Instagram, which is improving all the time.

It is the simplicity of the application that holds the attraction, and with the preset filters, you can actually achieve some good looking images. I recently came across a guy who uses Instagram to produce some beautiful images. Focussing on Landscapes, Finn Beales images of the Welsh Countryside are excellent. Well composed, full of tranquility and peacefulness, here are some exmample photographs from his website

Finn Beales
Finn Beales
Finn Beales
Finn Beales

Clearly we can not all be the next Ansel Adams, and I wouldn’t expect 40,000,000 users to be uploading daily masterpieces of subject, lighting & composition. Intelligent filtering or a tagging system could be the next step for Instagram. But the current torrent of low quality, blurred pictures of vaguely recognisable landmarks surely has little social value, except to say ‘I was there’, and perhaps that is another of Instagrams lures, that ‘Pictures are worth a thousand words’.

It is this apparent cheapening of the medium of Photography that is the biggest worry. A dilution of quality through the mass production of blurred, pixelated media. Although this has been a slow burning process, happening uncontrollably in the background since the advent of digital media. Physical, tangible Photographs are dying out. Old memories are now stored on Facebook for the majority of people, no longer in an old Vans shoe box under the bed, which is an irreversible shame.

There currently an Ansel Adams exhibition ‘Photography from the Mountains to the Sea’ running at The National Maritime Museum. See for more information or bookings.

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